Scary 'intruder' was switchboard blaze

Lucky escape from fire

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014

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An early morning blaze severely damaged a couple's Timaru home but they remain determined to keep their chins up.

Timaru, Washdyke and Temuka fire crews attended the blaze on Temple Cres about 2.15am yesterday where Paul and Maureen West live.

Fire Services confirmed a switchboard was the cause but it will be months before the couple can return to the home they built eight years ago.

It took firefighters about two hours to extinguish the blaze after Mrs West had a lucky escape and called for help. The garage was burnt out, including a car, and the roof severely smoke damaged.

Mrs West awoke about 2am after she heard banging in the garage. Mr West had gone to work at 11.30pm.

"I looked out in the hallway and could not see the security light on," Mrs West said.

"I got up straight away and saw a light on in the garage; I thought it was intruders so I locked the hallway door to the garage, went into the kitchen, went to turn the range hood light on.

"It wouldn't go, so I got the phone to ring police, but no phone."

Mrs West thought someone was out to get her.

"I looked out the window and saw the garage door open and light coming from the garage. Then I thought I've got to escape, we've got intruders, so I ran out back to the laundry, ran up the drive - and then saw the fire on the switch box."

She woke her neighbours, rang her son and called the fire brigade.

Yesterday, Mrs West said there had been amazing support from neighbours, friends and family.

The couple are staying at their neighbour's home.

"We just have to get our heads around it because it could be months before we will be back in the house," she said.

"We just have to get over the initial shock before we can make any decisions."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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